Change of Habit. Change of Hobby

The phrase “change of habit” is a familiar one. People who want to give up smoking or drinking but cannot are often heard to say “I’m going to quit the habit. I’m going to change my habit”.

But less frequently, in fact never, have I heard anyone remark “I’m going to change my hobby”.

Never, that is, until I invented the unusual phrase. It is in reference to me.

After writing and having published almost 1,200 articles in the TIMES OF ISRAEL, I think it’s time for me to change my hobby, one which I have enjoyed for the past six years but not one to which I am addicted. Attached to, definitely and forever, but not addicted.

Change, therefore, will be less painful.

In previous years, readers would indicate an opinion to something I had written by adding a comment in the space provided at the end of each published article.

That practice ceased in the past few years. To me, it was a sign either that there were fewer readers or at least readers who could not care one way or another and therefore did not choose to add their comments.. No positives but also no negatives. Simply no replies.

A few years ago there was an American non-Jew from Connecticut, Jonah, who made it his habit to respond in comments on nearly everything I wrote about my Israel. He was a faithful reader and a gifted thinker and responder and at least 99.9% of his comments disagreed with my writings.

That was apparently his hobby. Strike Ben-Sorek where it hurts by striking out at his beloved Israel.

Nevertheless, he was faithful to his negative habit which perhaps, for him, was a temporary hobby.

And to tell the truth, I miss our tete-a-tete back and forths. I hope he is alive and well.

Reading the TIMES OF ISRAEL every morning, I enjoy most of the articles submitted by gifted writers. On occasion, I reply with a comment which dies shortly after I have sent it. The writers do not respond.

With that prolegomena having been said, the question now remains how and where to find a new hobby.

I never was a drinker and I gave up my pipe smoking some forty years ago or more. And as for a three-letter word which begins with “s” and ends with “x”, it was neither habit nor hobby. It was just what it was and it died many years ago of old age.

So soon I must be in search of a new hobby and I do not know what it can or should be. It must be something that really captures my interests, something that I can learn from, and something to which I can make a simple contribution.

It need not be something to which I am attached daily, as I am to the TIMES OF ISRAEL but it certainly must be something that is both attractive and challenging to me. And as of this moment I am in the dark.

A new and unknown hobby at this stage of my life will not have sufficient time to grow into a habit. And that might be wise since I have too few years of my life remaining and I want them to be habit-free.

Travel has always been one of my great passions and I have found pleasure in most of the 45 countries I have visited. I do look forward to visiting in Abu Dhabi but it is only a dream which will probably never become a reality.

Theodor Herzl’s 1903 dream and vision for the creation of a Zionist nation in biblical Palestine (Zion) was “im tirtzu ain zu agada”… if you will it, it is not a fairy-tale” translated by Nachum Sokolow in 1903 from German into Hebrew “it is not a dream”, or doing is succeeding, does not apply to my breathing in the Gulf air in Abu Dhabi or Dubai nor of the kingdom of Bahrain. Viewing videos will replace the visitations.

But as for changing habits by changing hobbies, I’ll let you know in sufficient time when shalom will mean goodbye.

For the time being, you are stuck with me. And so too is your silence.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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